Baby Bottles Worth Censoring, Love on the Road and a Pub that Stays Open on Christmas

Our weekly roundup of the ad scene in Europe

Our European ad of the week comes from North Ireland, made for less than $1,000 by filmmaker Aoifa Teague. Backing Charlie's Bar in Enniskillen, and featuring a cast of locals, it opens on an older man visiting a cemetery. He walks through town, his gait a sad contrast to the youthful vibes all around. But things perk up at Charlie's, which is open on Christmas for those who have no one to celebrate with (or who don’t celebrate at all). This is a poignant ad about a special kind of tavern culture that thrives across the Channel.

Toblerone's got a new brand signature, "Never Square," created by Le Pub Amsterdam. The identity went live in the Netherlands and the hero ad is inspired by luxury codes. In it, a woman at a posh party wears a single diamond-shaped Toblerone truffle at the nape of her diamond-frosted neck. You can be sure a heist follows.

Sometimes, getting away brings couples back together. That's the premise behind "Retrouvez-vous," by Rosa Paris for French transport entity SNCF Connect. It's nothing you haven't seen before. Yet, its oldie-but-goodie feel suits the holidays, when romcom yearnings spike. Sometimes, you want a romcom experience that feels like your relationship once felt.

Swedish truck manufacturer Scania's first global campaign comes from Åkestam Holst and is titled "New Energy," referring to the brand's electric trucks. The ads have a workplace-sitcom feel and depict the vehicle as a gigantic and silent new office employee. To the guy who tried: Be thankful that truck didn't fist-bump you back. Eight ads were made in total, and five appear here:

For grocery conglom Carrefour in Belgium, Publicis Brussels gets downright "SCANdalous." A lady picks up a pineapple in a grocery store, then uses her phone to scan a QR code to see if she might win a trip to TuSCANy. Doing so zaps her into a Tuscan eatery, where everyone is suitably SCANdalized. (Pineapple does NOT belong atop Tuscan pizza!)

Krispy Kreme is coming to Paris! And just as it accompanied Burger King into France, Buzzman's been tapped for this delicate cultural integration gig. Then again, nobody comes to Buzzman for delicacy. The outdoor ads are a direct assault on pastries so beloved in the City of Lights. "Macaron Démission!" is a play on "Macron, quit!" except with macarons, the confections favored by Marie Antoinette. "The best croissant in Paris" depicts a doughnut with a bite missing, leaving it crescent-shaped. A massive métro ad reads, "Number of pastries that are better than our doughnuts: 0" (the zero being a doughnut, natch). You get the idea.

For the return of its chocolate coins, Cadbury created a Leeds-based billboard that it couldn't stop decorating with Christmas lights and holiday baubles. It also hunted down deco-happy locals and helped them overdo their houses, too. Work by VCCP London.

In yonder Spain, a car rental company called Mimowi is taking a different tack from its peers. "Open Relationship" depicts a man and a woman who seem to be telling their significant others that they need more freedom. It turns out they're talking to their cars. Think of that: With rentals, you could slide your hands across a new steering wheel every day. Work by Los padres de la criatura.

The JD Sports holiday ad, "Forever Forward," created by Uncommon, is hailed by The Drum as a standout in terms of relatability. Starring the retailer’s plastic duffel, it nails the diverse ways young people use the item (not to mention the diversity of British life in 2023). Also, there's a guy on a horse, and we are suckers for that.

Celio in France made billboards that show random men whose images were captured by Google Maps. The prices of the Celio stuff the guys happened to be wearing also appear. Creepy ... but a great coup because they were able to do it, which proves their core point. Brought to you by Buzzman.

For the opening of a CitizenM hotel in Rome, KesselsKramer London created ancient-Roman-style busts of modern Roman citizens, then displayed them all over the city. Quite a vis-à-vis. 

With "Born for Now," Swedish startup Emulait intros its debut product: a baby bottle resembling the maternal nipple in color, texture and shape. Heck, Instagram might censor it. So smart. Work by B-Reel.

Sephora dropped its holiday ad, "Let There Be Sparks," by BETC Paris. Weeks ago, we saw Boots' festive ad and said it does something Sephora can't. Specifically, Boots has a vulgarized self-care vibe going on, while Sephora's preoccupied by beauty (easily mistaken for luxury, even by the brand). Having seen this, we stand by what we said, with some gradation. "Let There Be Sparks" is beautiful. Everyone in it is beautiful. But the message is that you can elevate banal, even frustrating, moments to beauty. So yes, Sephora's about beauty. But it’s not exclusive or elitist. Both approaches seek to welcome a wider world into their arms, and both succeed without compromising their core identities.

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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